The first round of presidential elections is over. The judgment of the people will be final in the second round. Will the tone of democracy be appreciated by those who claimed democratic credentials? The world is acclaiming Liberia’s democratic process as peaceful, orderly, and transparent. They have stamp an approval of fairness to it. The National Elections Commission has amazingly performed and the system put in place was air tight against rigging. All parties’ representatives penned their signatures of acceptance to the accuracies of the results while international observers gave ovation. This is remarkable for postwar Liberia. It is an achievement that naked ambition should not tear down.
Prince Johnson Disengages from Allan White’s Strategies: The Need for CDC and Others to Emulate
Throughout the political process, one man that was rated as having no democratic credentials and whose statements presented a presumed threat to national peace and stability was the NUDP Standard Bearer Prince Yormie Johnson. Well meaning Liberians had condemned him; the press had criticized him; some of his party officials had resigned for fear of what a Johnson’s led government would plunge Liberia into; his party was disintegrated and his formidability diminished and de-emphasized during the process. The nation shivered at what he would do if the elections failed to give him his much desired political leadership of Liberia.
But Johnson has taken the world by surprise. The reversal of his earlier statements that he would not accept the results and urging Liberians to “eat one cup and keep one”, suggesting a post elections war have dramatically changed to a democratic disposition and spirit that appreciates peaceful co-existence and democracy. In his word, the presidency is not his birthright and he would do nothing to disturb the peace of this nation. He noted that he would accept a free and fair elections result. This has been proven by his disengagement from political parties declaring the election results null and void.
Experts on Johnson believe that this General turned Politician is not being erratic about his recent pronouncements and commitment to Liberia’s peace and democracy. Johnson, like a typical Joseph Patrick Kennedy, believes in his family and would do nothing to jeopardize their safety, happiness and success. To him, peace and stability are cardinal factors to consider for their future.
They maintain that Johnson’s first act towards belligerence and violence would have been to slip his family out of the country. Further, the unforeseen end of violence would not permit him to put his infrastructures into danger. In this light, presidential candidate Prince Johnson would be removed from collaborated conspiracies to pursue violence. We hope these are the correct hypothesis of the man who is now considered King Maker and came third place in the race.
The democratic posture being displayed by Prince Johnson’s NUDP was oppositely and expectedly expected of Tubman’s CDC. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The CDC reactions against the electoral process rated by observers and the world as transparent, free, fair, and peaceful demonstrate an attitude that contravenes democratic precepts and subordinate same to the will and ambition of CDC in disregard to the choices expressed by the people at the polls. According to a long time friend of mine who arrived from the United States and one of those responsible for the Allen White’s strategy to make the country ungovernable should CDC not obtain a win, CDCians have committed themselves to non-cooperation and pledged to besiege the President and cause her not to go to office by blocking all passage points until concessions are made that would give rise to power sharing between the U.P and the CDC.
Apparently, in realization that the coalition of opposition parties plans were to disengage from the process and to begin a massive sit in protests on major streets with the intent to make Liberia ungovernable as strategized by Allan White for a power sharing deal between U.P. and CDC according to a Front Page Africa report, the NUDP, in a dramatic manner, immediately disengaged from the coalition.
The late Senator D. Wa Hne, Sr. once said that “Democracy is a governing principle with layout rules which suppresses individual Will to that of the will of the people. It is in this light that it mandates the people to make free choices and that their choices should be respected and accepted whether against one’s ambition or not.” Recent hostilities against the provincial results by some opposition led by CDC define what Liberians should expect if a ruling CDC should lost to an opposition in the future. Political pundits are of the conviction that democratic guarantees by a future CDC government should begin now and that Tubman has the capacity to do so by rejecting strategies and advises that bring criticisms to his long career as a seasoned democrat, a peace maker, a sound policy designer, and a dependable former expert within the UN systems.
Liberian democracy is at a developing stage. The understanding of more than 85% of the electorate has to be worked on for a long time to come. Thus to assume that the trooping of hundreds of thousands of citizens to a political party rally means a win has no guarantee. The Liberian electorate cannot be vouched for in terms of commitment. They also believe that politicians cannot be vouched for either. It is a game in which distrust vs distrust and reality takes the day. It is the “the devil you know is better than the angel you have never seen philosophy.”
Importantly, the interference of Allan White into Liberia’s domestic politics to create a state of violence must be condemned. The last time I checked, Allan White was in Ghana waiting to arrest Taylor for war crimes. What a grievous contradiction and abuse of reputation for him to desire to now sit on the throne of ruthlessness, civil disorder and abuse of humanity for a dollar. The international community should not sit disinterestingly and allow Allan White to go with impunity. His strategy handed down to CDC is an act of war against democracy and the Liberian people.
Democracy should not be defined as desperation. It is not an art of muscular display or physical pain infliction on the opponent. It is to know that one has tried but the people whom one seeks to govern have a different opinion. It is to know that one could try another time and not for one to seek to display violence against the people for choices they make.
The decision of Johnson to disengage his support from the CDC to President Johnson is built on several pillars according to expert analysis. Some of these pillars are: (1) Johnson’s NUDP has remarkably performed and could possibly win the hearts of Liberians and the international community depending on actions that promote peace and citizens’ welfare. (2) Johnson finds himself caught between two Liberians of similar ethnic stock. One has only six years to leave the scene and the other would have twelve years. Any party which seeks state power would rather prefer six to twelve.
(3)The campaign focus of the CDC had been the issue of those who brought war to Liberia. Such focus gives a clue that a CDC government would pursue those people. Senator Johnson could be one of their victims. According to analysts, Johnson would not want to preside over his own liquidation and (4),President Sirleaf is Nimba’s second choice and with their son out of the race, their hands are untied to now make a decision without preferring a stranger to their own. In my view, these are testing time for lovers of democracy and they will be known by their actions.
Experts on the NUDP believe that the decision of some officials of the NUDP to disassociate themselves from Johnson’s declaration of support to the Unity Party is without executives committee’s endorsement. The Executives of the NUDP comprises county chairpersons and executive officers; none of which is Monrovia for emergency Executive meeting. Thus, decisions of emergency nature in the absence of the committee can be taken in the best interest of the party by the National Chairman or Standard Bearer. In this case, pundits believe that the Standard Bearer acted in the best interest of the party and his wisdom should be trusted.